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UT Philosophy Department highlighted its research cluster in the metaphysics of freedom and action theory

2013 Tennessee Value and Agency Conference

If libertarianism about free will and moral responsibility is true, then people sometimes act freely and accountably without being causally determined to do so. Frequently maligned within the history of philosophy, this view has gained increasingly sympathetic attention among philosophers. But many stark questions remain, including: How plausible is this view? If our actions are not causally determined, how can we have control over them? Why should we want our actions to be breaks in the deterministic causal chain?

The second annual Tennessee Value and Agency (TVA), November 15-17, conference features keynote speakers Robert Kane (Texas) and Michael McKenna (Arizona) as well as roughly a dozen papers selected upon blind peer review that engage these and similar issues relevant to the assessment of libertarian approaches to freedom and responsibility.

2014 Annual Spring Philosophy Symposium

The 2014 Spring Symposium: "Free Will, Metaphysics, and Science", Saturday April 5th, is a one-day workshop, hosted by UT Philosopher David Palmer, bringing together some leading philosophers to discuss the interplay between free will, metaphysics, and science, with questions like: do scientific results show that free will is an illusion? How do contemporary developments in metaphysics (e.g., substance, causation) shed light on the traditional problem of agency and free will? The workshop will feature papers by David Palmer as well as three visitors: Al Mele (Florida State), Carolina Sartorio (Arizona), and Scott Sehon (Bowdoin). There will be 2 sessions in the morning, and 2 sessions in the afternoon, followed by an evening reception. (Mele will talk on whether contemporary scientific results show that free will is an illusion; Sartorio will talk on how the metaphysics of causation bears on the free will problem; Sehon will discuss how teleological explanations of action bear on the free will problem; and finally some little known rising star, David Palmer, often seen walking the halls of McClung Tower will talk about how freely-willed actions might be uncaused events.) All are welcome. (Yes, it is a Saturday, but if you spend *one* weekend this academic year doing philosophy, make it this one! OK, this one and the November Saturday of the TVA meeting.)

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